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Are you aware of your responsibilities as a forklift supervisor?

Blogs | 24th Aug 2020
Forklift Supervisor Responsibilities

Any responsible employer with forklift operations knows that the correct management and supervision is essential for workplace transport safety, as well as efficiency. But what are the main responsibilities of an materials handling equipment (MHE) Manager or Supervisor?

Here are five things that your forklift operations Managers and Supervisors MUST do…

  1. Identify unsafe operations practices

It’s understandable (and expected) that after a long period of time away from the routine of the workplace, high operating standards can begin to slip and bad habits can begin to takeover. With many workers recently returning from furlough and isolation, this is the case now more than ever.

During our recent Workplace Transport Operations Masterclass webinar, we polled attendees to ask what they thought was the most common unsafe operating practice in their own business. Here are the results:

  • Turning with load raised – 36%
  • Operating too close to pedestrians – 24%
  • Not looking in direction of travel – 23%
  • Leaving keys in unattended truck – 13%
  • Incorrect / Lack of PPE – 3%

If any of these safety concerns ring true of your own workplace, now is the time to stop, reflect and change.

If you are a FLT Manager or Supervisor, how often do you walk down to the operational shop floor and truly observe what is going on? Try it today!

Using our handy Counterbalance and Reach Lift Truck Practical Test Marking Sheet, mark up any safety concerns and get a handle of what issues you’re really dealing with.

  1. Identify hazards

Along with unsafe practices, a lift truck operations Manager or Supervisor should always be on the lookout for any potential or emerging hazards. What might not seem like a hazard today can soon become one.

For example, is there anything on the shop floor that could result in a slip or trip? Are any separation barriers damaged to the point where they’re not effective? Maybe your workplace doesn’t have separation barriers to begin with? These are all things that, as a Manager or Supervisor, you should be not only taking a note of, but looking to change.

  1. Implementing safe working practices

As a Manager or Supervisor, it’s your job to not only highlight unsafe practices, but to work towards implementing new ones that ensure the safety of your team.

This isn’t a one-off task! These should continually evolve as your workplace operation does. Re-visit your working practices on a regular basis and consult with the people who know the day-to-day operations best – the operators. Involving operators in creating safe working practice plans will not only be more inclusive, but will help to engage the team, resulting in a safer working environment.

  1. Get the basics

A Lift Truck Manager or Supervisor won’t have necessarily been in a FLT-based role for a long time. You often find that a Manager or Supervisor is chosen based on their knowledge, understanding, and appreciation of safety rules and regulations.

At RTITB, we’re often asked whether a Manager or Supervisor needs to have been trained on specific equipment or a qualified operator. The answer is no, they just need to have a good basic level of understanding and knowledge of their specific working environment and best practices.

  1. Always seek guidance & support

Safety rules and regulations are always changing, as is the workplace environment. As a Manager or Supervisor of a busy MHE environment, it can feel like you should already know key safety guidelines, however, guidance is easy to find and should be sought!

If you’re unsure of your role and what you’re supposed to be doing, have you considered a management or supervisors training course? These can be really helpful to give you a good level of knowledge and understanding, as well as practice in spotting hazards and, on some courses, a chance to get some practical experience on your own shop floor. What’s more, they can usually be completed in a day, so you can get started on applying best practices fast.

Also, Managers and Supervisors should keep up to date with what is going on in the industry, keeping an eye on social media, and looking out for any online webinars and conferences. These are a great way to stay on top of the latest rules and regulations in a short amount of time.

More information for Managers and Supervisors

There are lots more tips about managing and supervising MHE workplaces in our LTG31 Trainers’ Guide. Be sure to check it out for more information and useful tips!

Need more support?

In just one day, the RTITB Workplace Transport Operations HealthCheck can help you improve safety, compliance and efficiency.

Our internationally qualified lead auditors and workplace transport training specialists conduct a thorough audit of your operations, via risk assessment, observation, interviews and more.

Following this consultation, which usually only takes around one day, we’ll give you an impartial report revealing potential risks and areas for improvement, as well as highlighting good practice.

Find out how we can help today. Visit www.rtitb.com/services/healthcheck for more information.